Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Sweet In My Bittersweet Weekend.

Wait a minute...is that who I think it is?

Yes ma'am , that's Kanye West and the picture was taken by yours truly at the Virgin Mobile Festival is Baltimore, Maryland last Sunday. The two day event which included huge names like Bob Dylan, Nine Inch Nails, Lil' Wayne, Iggy Pop and more drew thousands of people from all over the region and I was lucky enough to be there covering the event for my day job at Worldspace Satellite Radio. Kanye West's performance has to be the best stage show I've seen since the Jackson 5's Victory Tour back in 198-i was too young to remember. Visually, the show was incredible. I don't know if what we saw on Sunday was anything like his Glow In the Dark set but it was bright, bold and biiiig. Musically, the joint was tight. It's clear that he and his band put in countless hours getting the cues right and in those moments that appeared to be improvised, they were right there with him. The only other Hip Hop act I've seen with that type of precision is the Infamous Roots Crew and they've been together for years and years. But what really stood out was Kanye's message. Throughout his career Kanye has been accused of being arrogant, difficult and angry, all accusations that no doubt bother West. It seems every time he picks up the mic he's bashing his critics while pouring his heart out to fans. No question this has been a particularly rough year for Kanye having lost his mother in November, he said as much during a pretty impressive freestyle where he admitted he appreciated, but at the same time hated, all of the messages from fans regarding his mother, implying that they seemed disingenuous coming from people who had never met Kanye or his mother Donda. During Flashing Lights, Kanye also talked about the price of fame, you could hear the passion and anguish coming from the man who knows that no matter where he goes, no matter when, someone will always know his name. He will never be able to disappear into the crowd and live the life of an anonymous everyday joe. Normally I don't buy the whole "woe is me, I'm a famous kazillionaire and they just won't leave me alone" shtick. But coming from Kanye, it seemed real. He's a man who obviously loves what he does, worked hard for years before anyone recognized his talent and now has to deal with his own demons and insecurities in the public eye where we tend not give celebrities a pass for being human. Being in a business where success is measured by how many people know your name (and/or voice) I can understand how frustrating it can be when you just want to walk into a 7-11 sans makeup and dressed in your raggedy weekend sweats in peace, only to be recognized by someone who is still pissed off about something you said on the air weeks ago - and then calls you up on the air the next morning to dog you out for looking so busted at the 7-11. B-More can you hear me? But I digress. This is about Kanye who now officially goes down in my book as being one of my all time favorite entertainers. Kanyeezee, I got your back!! Stay Strong!

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